This week’s Behind the Bride is with the lovely Leah from Home Family Life.
Hi Leah, first of all, congratulations on your marriage! When was the big day?
We got married Saturday 23rd August 2014, it was the bank holiday weekend.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your partner. When and where did you first meet?
Both my now husband (Keith) and I are the oldest in our families, I have 6 younger siblings and Keith 2 younger. We have both watched as some of our brothers and sisters have got married and had children. Of course we were happy for them, but it can be hard, wondering if our chance for the same would come.
But both of us have done our best to enjoy our single life. Keith enjoyed dancing and competed in Ballroom and Latin dance competitions. I loved to travel and had visited America, Australia, Asia, Scandinavia and Europe prior to Keith and I dating.
We first met in 2011 at a social event for single people at our church near to where Keith lived. But it was another year before we really became friends. The following year we were at the same event and we re-connected and spent the next 18 months getting to know each other as friends.
How did they propose? Or was it you who popped the question?
We were coming up to being together for 6 months and I was pretty sure this was the person I wanted to marry and spend my life with. It wasn’t long to be together and be thinking of getting married, but we’d spent a lot of time together over the 18 months prior to us dating and I was already in my mid 30’s by this point.
I’d given a few hits at the thought of getting engaged, but Keith kept saying he wasn’t quite ready. We had a trip planned to Jersey in the Channel Islands to visit some close friends of ours and celebrate being together for 6 months. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for getting engaged, but the day before we went Keith again said he wasn’t ready.
Little did I know he was trying to throw me off the scent. He’d been out and bought an engagement ring and had a T-shirt made saying “Leah, will you share life’s dance with me?” He proposed in the early hours of our 6 month anniversary.
Tell me a bit about your big day. Where did you tie the knot? Did you have a theme or a colour scheme?
We got married in West Yorkshire, as that’s where I was living at the time of us dating and getting engaged. I knew I wanted to get married in the north and it just felt easier to plan our wedding for where I was living.
Even though I have a large family I’m not a fan of large groups and definitely don’t like to be the centre of attention. But between both of our families and friends there were a lot of people we wanted to invite. So I put measures in place for the day to alleviate some of my anxieties. The first being to have first look photos taken.
This is where you have photos taken with your intended prior to walking down the aisle. The only people we had there were our bridesmaids, best man and grooms men, as well as the 2 of us. We were able to see each other in front of a few people who we held close and have the moment captured on camera. It was such a special moment shared with just a few people.
We also chose to have quite a relaxed reception; I wasn’t a fan of the formalities that came with getting married. We chose a picnic theme where we had picnic food and asked our guests to bring picnic blankets with them. I really didn’t want a room full of tables and chairs with our guests sitting at tables and us at a head table. There were tables and chairs, but not laid out in a formal way meaning we could all move around the room freely.
Our colour theme was purple and yellow, not something I ever thought I’d have. But I fell in love with a picture of a bouquet I’d seen of sun flowers with a purple flower and our colour theme was based around this.
Keith decided he’d like a 1950s theme and our bridesmaids wore 1950s style dresses and I had an outfit change for our first dance and wore a white version of my bridesmaid’s dresses.
What was your favourite memory from your day?
There are so many things I loved about our day. One of the things I loved the most was seeing all our guests enjoying themselves. I’d wanted our guests to have something to entertain themselves with while they waited for us to arrive as we had photos taken between our ceremony and reception. I’d prepared a wedding bingo and photo list for our guests to complete. It was so nice to see everything I’d planned come together and our guests join in and enjoying those plans.
Another favourite part of our day was our first dance. As mentioned already Keith had competed in Ballroom and Latin competitions. I didn’t have the same level of dance skills, but had enjoyed learning to Ceroc (a modern jive social dance) in the few years prior to Keith and me getting together. So our first dance was always going to be an important part of our day.
Even though this was going to really put me the centre of attention, if I couldn’t have a special dance on my wedding day when could I. We did a waltz to “It is You” by Dana Glover and that went into a Ceroc to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
Was there anything that didn’t go to plan? Or that you would perhaps have done differently?
We had planned to take our picnic blankets outside and enjoy our picnic food out on the grass. We had decorated the hall, but the plan was to have a picnic to make the reception as relaxed as possible. But unfortunately the heavens opened while we were in the church getting married.
The rain stopped long enough for a few photos, but then started again. It did dry up, but the ground was too wet to sit out. Our guests were so good and got their picnic blankets and sat on the floor of our reception hall, so we had an indoor picnic instead.
If we were to do it again we probably would go on Honeymoon a few days later instead of the following day so we could have stayed and partied with our guests for longer. We loved our day, but it really does go so fast and it’s hard to fit everything in that you want to.
Do you have any advice for future brides to be?
My advice would be to not worry about traditions, do what feels right to you and in a way that will allow you to fully enjoy the day. If that means going against tradition like we did, then that’s fine.
It was important to me to make sure our guests enjoyed the day, but not at the expense of us enjoying the day. You hopefully will only have one wedding, so you don’t want to look back and have regrets.
That being said I had no plans to go into debt for it. We still had a special day on a budget. That was an important day to be remembered, but the rest of our lives are also important.
To discuss taking part in the Behind the Bride series, please send me an email.